I’ve been so heavy hearted with the news of this world, with stories of friends of friends, and stories of my own dear friends. From horrible accidents, to terrorists, to cancer, to mental illness, I can’t scroll through anything without being bombarded with the brokenness. And the sorrow weighs me down, and I wonder what can I even do?
Grace and I fought one Sunday, and I yelled. In a heated situation she chose fear rather than trust, saw me as a threat, and accused. I yelled because I was mad. And, oh my word, how many years is it going to take for her to know I am on her side?
I had to apologize, reaffirm her worth, and stress that no matter how I am feeling it is never right to yell at anyone. These lessons are for both of us. Usually, my fuse is much longer than it was on this particular day.
I know many of our friends ache for our reality. They are angry for us, because they see her behavior, not her heart.
Her behavior makes me angry, too.
In my worst moments, like on that Sunday, I get angry at her.
This is the wrong response.
In my better, grace-filled, moments, when the Spirit is working through my hands and words, I can redirect my anger into sorrow. Sorrow for the sin that has broken her history, and made her reality so painful.
“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”
Sorrow fills me with compassion, instead of anger, and instead of wanting to insist on my own way, or yell in a rude and unkind way, I can look past her behavior into her heart. I have learned to recognize certain behaviors as a symptom of a heart issue that needs addressed, instead of a problem to fix. (“The ways of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.”)
But even still, there are so many days I feel like Frodo, carrying the One Ring across Middle Earth. It’s just all just too much sometimes.
Parenting her. Parenting toddlers. A marriage. A church. Friendships with hurting people. This broken world that seems bent on destroying itself, and the wickedness that seems to be winning …
“Frodo : I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam : I know.
It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here.
But we are.
It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy.
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo : What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”
So I fight. But it doesn’t look like the fighting my boys love with swords and shields and racing through a forest.
I don’t have all the answers. I can’t patch up every broken heart, rescue every orphan, or even begin to scratch the surface of solving the social injustices our world is currently facing.
But I know this. I can fight for the good in my own little sphere and not turn back.
Images by Helen Joy //www.helenjoy.com/sacred-roots